Atopic Dermatitis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Tanuja Bisht

, Health A2Z

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a condition of redness and itchiness of the skin. It is common in children but can occur at any age.


Atopic dermatitis is long-lasting (chronic) and tends to erupt periodically. It may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever.


A cure for atopic dermatitis has not been found. But self-help treatments and remedies can relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks. For example, it helps to avoid strong soaps, moisturize your skin regularly and apply medicated creams or ointments.




What is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is defined as the chronic eczematous skin disease that usually occurs in children. A predisposition to atopic dermatitis is hereditary.


Patients with atopic dermatitis have “super sensitive” skin and a reduced threshold of irritation. Acute atopic dermatitis produces aqueous and exudative plaques of very itchy skin.


The disease has itch characteristic symptom and appears as thickened, raised patches of scaly skin.


Patients with the disease appear to have a poor immune response. Basically, the treatment of atopic dermatitis focuses on rehydrating the skin with emollients such as petrolatum and careful use of topical steroids to reduce inflammation and itching.


Oral antihistamines can in the disease and its secondary infections can worsen the rash, oral antibiotics may also be occasionally indicated.




What are the Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis?

Most people will have their first signs of eczema before the age of 5. Babies may have red, scaly and scaly spots on their cheeks, scalp or on the front of their arms and legs.


Children and adults usually have very strong red itching on the neck and knees and in the folds of the elbow. It can also have small pieces and flaky skin. The rash can also develop on the face, wrists, and forearms.


If you scratch, your skin can become thick, dark and healed. The itching usually worsens at night when you go to bed.


Scratches can also cause an infection. You will notice red bumps that can hurt and fill with pus. Be sure to consult your doctor if this happens.


Other symptoms of the disease include:

  • Scaly, dry skin
  • Redness
  • Skin creasing
  • Cracked skin
  • Darkening of the skin around the eyes




What are the Causes of Atopic Dermatitis?

The cause of eczema is unknown but seems to come with a combination of (inherited) disease leading genetic and environmental factors.


There appears to be a basic hypersensitivity of the skin and an increased tendency to itching.


Several evidence proof that the disease is associated with other atopic disorders like hay fever (seasonal allergies) and asthma.


In addition, many children continue to overcome the symptoms of atopic dermatitis, hay fever or asthma.


Although another related disorder does not necessarily result, researchers, understand the signs of atopic dermatitis.


Most victims seem to have a smaller or defective form of a protein called filaggrin in the skin. This protein appears to be important for maintaining normal skin hydration.


It is important to understand that food sensitivity does not seem to be an important incentive for most eczema cases. This is an active area of research.


Patients with atopic dermatitis appear to have mild weakness of the immune system. You are predisposed to develop fungus infections of staphylococcal foot infections and skin and lip infections can spread herpes simplex (eczema herpetiformis) and vaccination against smallpox (eczema vaccine) on large areas of the skin.




What are the Treatments for Atopic Dermatitis?

There are several treatment options for atopic dermatitis including;

Avoid Triggers.

Discover the causes of your skin problems and try to avoid these triggers. For example, if some soaps or tissues cause rashes, stop using them. Try to avoid cigarette smoke, animal dander, and pollen if they appear to make your skin worse.


Take Care of Your Skin.

It’s key to keep your skin moisturized. The best choices for your skin will be thick creams or ointments that have little water. Put them on as soon as you get out of the shower or bath while your skin is still wet. Make sure you don’t take baths or showers that are too hot or too long. That can dry out your skin.


Treat Symptoms.

Your doctor may suggest medications for your symptoms. These may include steroid creams or ointments for light rockets or steroid pills for more serious cases.


Other treatments may include:

  • Antihistamines to control itching, especially at night
  • Use of antibiotics if you are facing infection
  • Use of drugs to suppress your immune system.
  • Light therapy
  • Wet dressings
  • Other skin creams for moisturizing





The atopic dermatitis is not a big problem if you treat early symptoms of it. You simply have to moisturize your skin or you can use antibiotics if you face any type of infection.


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